Home to some of the tallest buildings in Paris, Nanterre is a sprawling prefecture and residential area north-west of the city centre. It was known by the Romans as Nemetodorum in reference to an ancient shrine and was the site of a 3rd-century BC Gallic necropolis.
Things to do in Nanterre
In the heart of Nanterre is the Cathedrale Sainte-Genevieve-et-Saint-Maurice, an Art Deco-style cathedral that is designated as a Monument Historique. Originally established as a parish in the 3rd century, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years. The current Roman Byzantine-style building dates back to 1924 and houses beautiful frescoes and stained-glass windows.
Occupying a striking, domed building is the Paris La Defense Arena, a multi-use stadium and one of Europe’s largest indoor arenas. It was originally conceived to showcase home games of the Racing 92 rugby team and has since hosted professional basketball matches, motocross events and concerts by big-name artists such as the Rolling Stones and Elton John.
Overlooking the River Seine is Parc du Chemin de l’Île, a scenic recreational space renowned for its water features and use of recycled materials. On the other side of Nanterre is Parc Andre Malraux, which was laid out in the 1970s with a central lake, botanical gardens and large expanses of grassy lawns. Kids will love the games area and merry-go-round, as well as the water playground for cooling off in the hot, summer months.
Getting around Nanterre
Nanterre is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Paris and Charles de Gaulle Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect to the Nanterre-Prefecture, Nanterre-Universite and Nanterre-Ville railway stations and buses travel throughout the prefecture.